22660 131.4 Dunn M&S Peter Haslam bolton banner

     Deansgate from Bridge St to Knowsley St

22501 129 xx 22510 129 y 24sep2009 - Copy

Deansgate west of Woolworth’s. The white marble building had been Bolton’s first purpose built cinema opened 13th August 1910, originally called the Electric Theatre, then the Imperial Playhouse(1920) and finally the Embassy (probably 1936) cinema before closing in September 1947. The earliest records of films being shown in Bolton indicate the use of the Bolton Temperance Hall on St George’s Road which was later sold and used entirely as a cinema before being given a new frontage and replaced by the Rialto cinema. After the Embassy closed it became a Littlewood’s store and later rebuilt as a branch of Boots. It is now occupied by Waterstone’s book store.


Coloured picture 24 September 2009 (C) WDC. Essentially the same view as the picture to its left. Some buildings remain. The Palatine Building (now MacDonald's) was originally one storey higher than it is today. The Royal Bank of Scotland is essentially unchanged (though it has changed its name about five times). Notice the right half of Superdrug; this building has appeared on a number of pictures having been built in 1884, the terra-cotta panels between the first and second storey windows mark it out even on the black and white pictures.


The beautifully clear picture with Meeson's chocolates and sweets (and port wine?) on the corner is from David Whenlock's collection. The building with the white gable and Magees was built in 1884 and remains as the right half of Superdrug.


In the bottom picture we see that that building was occupied by Graveson's ironmongers - note the large padlock hanging as a sign - and by Stead and Simpsons boots and shoes.


Note also the castle- or cathedral-like Upper Nags Head on the left of Deansgate on the corner of Market Street.

22520 129.6 Deansgate Electric Theatre 22525 132 x47 22540 129.5 Deansgate LG - Copy 22550 129.9 XPP 1939 Deansgate. Imperial has becom 22545 Boots - Copy 22560 130 x108 - Copy

The Imperial Playhouse on the corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street.


The Mystery Man (aka The Midnight Man) was made in 1919 and the first year after this in which January 18th was on a Monday was 1926, so the photo is either late 1925 or 1926. (Peter Lodge)


James J Corbett the mystery man was heavy weight boxing champion of the world , famous for winning the first ever world championship with gloves on . Otherwise known as gentleman Jim Corbett. (Tommy Battel)


Left: The same corner much more recently but before Deansgate was pedestrianised.












The cinema is now the Embassy - probably 1936 note the film “The Green Pastures” which was released 1936. Note the shop with the terra-cotta inlays, now Boots. Constantine Brothers’ shop is now Woolworth’s but the statue of Britannia still graces its top. We can see the domes of Martin’s Bank and Preston’s. At this time we have trams and single and double-decker petrol buses.

1949 Deansgate looking back towards Woolworth’s before its update in the late 1950s The Electric/Embassy is here occupied by Littlewoods. Littlewoods certainly had a shop around here after the theatre was demolished but I don’t know if Littlewoods themselves rebuilt it. Boots is next door but one of our most familiar memories of this corner is of the large Boots there until about 2004? But now multi-occupied by Waterstones and others.


22570 130 y 24sep2009 - Copy 22580 2015 05 19 64 small 22585 133.6 2014 02 11 109 - Copy 22590 133.7 2014 02 11 110 - Copy 22591 133.8 2014 02 11 111 - Copy 22600 130.7 Deansgate c1927

24 September 2009 Superdrug is now a very large store having extended from the 1884 terra-cotta building into the later (1920s) building to its left. Waterstones Bookshop occupies the corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street.


May 2015 Wilco now occupies the Woolworth’s building. Waterstones have a Costa Coffee upstairs.


11 Feb 2014 Seeing this block in the opposite direction. It is actually quite a pleasant looking street.


A final look at the details of the terra-cotta building.





Next we will look at the south side of Deansgate from Mealhouse Lane towards Market Street.


Deansgate c1927


Corner of Mealhouse Lane with the Midland Bank


The lady at the left seems to be looking intently at the probably older lady in the long fur coat.

22610 130.6 posted by Patricia Jones

Posted on Facebook by Patricia Jones

Mealhouse Lane corner somewhat later.

Still the Midland Bank, Curtess Shoes, Lloyd’s, Saxone shoes, The Toggery, look at the American car.

22630 131 x83 Deansgate - Copy 22640 131.2 XPP Dunns

Deansgate/Mealhouse Lane corner, roadworks July 1966. Note that the upper storey has been removed from Dunn’s.

22655 018.37 Mealhouse Lane - Copy 22650 131.3 XPP - Copy 22680 135.7 XPP Deansgate Mealhouse Lane M&S 22690 135.5 Deansgate - Copy 22645 131.5 1993.83.01.11[1] 22620 130.5 1966 - Copy

<<<Deansgate/Mealhouse Lane corner, roadworks 1950s.


Note Dunn’s hatters on the corner with R G Connor jeweller, silversmith and diamond merchant above.


To the right, no 37 Deansgate, memorable for its Old Mo Rum sign is George Munro’s licensed premises. This was the Bay Horse (though its name is not apparent on the pictures), one of Bolton’s oldest pubs (dating from before 1778) bought by George Monro and Co in 1865 and also known as the Scotch Vaults after George who was born 1832 in Sutherland, Scotland. George Monro represented the Exchange ward for the Liberal Party on Bolton Council from 1886 to 1889. A keen Presbyterian he was a member and generous supporter of St Andrew’s Presbyterian church on Bowker’s Row.The name George Monro seems to have been retained here even though the original George Monro died in 1894 and the company became Ross Monro. (More details about Ross Monro Company on page 16.) Is it possible that these premises were owned not by the Ross Monro Company but by George Monro (Junior) whose main business was in Oldham?

c1960 Dunn’s Hatters is still functioning but now has Fox’s Photographers above it and Royal Liver Assurance Offices above that. George Monro’s still appears to be in business. Marks and Spencer’s still have their original building but the premises between them and the pub have already been acquired by M&S for their expansion. Note that Dunn’s is still full height so this picture is before the 1966 road works picture below. The premises were sold to M&S in 1959 and closed in April 1960 which seems to be the latest possible date for this picture.

A view down Mealhouse Lane to Dunn's.

Spender’s Worktown photograph 1937. People outside Munro’s.

Dunn’s still in business despite having its upper storeys removed. View along Mealhouse Lane  block on right, behind Dunn’s all demolished for M&S extension

Posted on Facebook by Peter Haslam. It appears that Dunn’s has only just closed down but the M&S extension is now well under way.

The building of Marks & Spencer's new shop. Dunn’s still stands, still three storeys high but Ross Monro and all the other buildings around it have gone. Eventually M&S would extend to the left to the corner of Mealhouse Lane and to the right into 3/5 of the shop it is trading in at the time of this picture. Note that the two window on the right of the five were retained and are still there now. M&S now also now extends all the way back to Hotel St.

This is M&S  somewhere between its opening in 1929 and its closing in 1967.


Now M&S has a much bigger frontage stretching from the corner of Mealhouse Lane to 3/5 the way across this building.


The part of the building containing the two right-most windows is still standing and is no longer part of M&S This building replaced the original Nag’s Head, later called the Lower Nag’s Head, the rebuilt Lower Nag’s Head which still stands was immediately to the right, a bit of it is visible on this picture.

22700 135.2 LOWER NAGS HEAD original (C) BMBC

The Lower Nag’s Head with the original Lower Nag’s Head to its left which was replaced by the older Marks and Spencer’s between 1927 and 1929. The factory chimney above it belongs to the printworks on Mealhouse Lane. Note M&M Magee Marshall & Co at the top of the new building.

22710 135 x202 Deansgate - Copy 22720 135 y 24sep2009 - Copy 22730 134 x105 Deansgate - Copy 22740 134b Deansgate

We now see the Lower Nag’s Head with the 1929 M&S building to its left and Burton’s, surprisingly built before either of them to the right. The Lower Nag’s Head originally "Nag's Head" preceded the "Upper Nag's Head by 40 years. The original pub, immediately to the left of the present building and replaced between 1927 and 1929 by Marks and Spencer’s,  demolished when Deansgate was widened in 1927 and the building in the picture erected. In 1967, although the pub remained open using downstairs bars, the ground floor became Hepworth’s Tailors, later Next. More alterations in 1982, the pub renaming itself as Oliver’s, but it closed a little while after this.  

24 Sept 2009

The new Marks and Spencer’s then the “To Let” shop which is the rightmost 2/3 of the original M&S, the Lower Nag’s Head and Burtons. Beyond Market Street is the Alliance and Leicester building (later Santander, now EE) which occupies the site of the Higher Nag’s Head.

Back to 1920 or just after: the block of shops which includes Burton’s on the corner of Deansgate and Market Street.  The double fronted building seems to be the Lower Nag’s Head together with the premises to the right although details of the roof and chimney are different from the newer picture with the old and new premises (to be built in 1927). Burton’s has only recently been built. Bromilow & Edwards (later Edbro) was founded in 1919.

Another picture probably taken the same day, posted on Facebook (and cleaned up?) by Peter Lodge. We see Burton’s more clearly and the Lower Nag’s Head on the other corner of Market Street.

22750 136 x191 Deansgate - Copy

May 1962 Same part of Deansgate when the circus came to town. Note Monro’s has already gone waiting for M&S redevelopment but Dunn’s still stands at its full height.




Now we cross back to the north side of Deansgate.

22760 133.5 deansgateGW

What a pity this part of Deansgate does not look like this now. This predated the building of the (now) Royal Bank of Scotland in 1875. The centre of the block, the Rope and Anchor and the two or three premises to the left of it -  is now Superdrug, the red brick right half of the present building dating from 1884 and the marble style left half from the 1920s.

22770 133.1 - Copy

The Bolton News dates this picture as “in the 1890s”. We do not yet have electric trams (c1900). We see William’s Deacon’s Bank, the red brick (or terra cotta) building of 1884 is there. The white building to its left is clearly the two shop premises to the left of the Rope and Anchor on the previous picture and was replaced in the 1920s. The statue of Britannia (which was removed in 1942) on the Constantine Brothers building (later Woolworth’s, now Wilkinson’s) stands clear and proud.

22780 133.2 22790 133.4 DgDW 22800 133.3 Deansgate no date - Copy

A familiar picture that has appeared in a number of guises. This is a hand coloured black and white photo published as a postcard. The figure in the window of the Bank is perhaps in a maid’s dress but in other versions of this picture the figure looks more like a table lamp. The tram has been imaginatively coloured in Glasgow livery. We have electric trams so the picture is after 1900. It appears that the E;ectric Theatre on the corner of Bridge Street is being built which would date the picture to c1909.

Picture from David Whenlock’s collection.


Deansgate from the corner of Knowsley Street.


The Bank (1875)

Is on the left. The Higher Nag’s Head




is on the right but the cathedral-like building on the corner of Market Street has not yet been built. This is before electric trams so is between 1875 and 1900. Magees closed it in 1929 after rebuilding the Lower Nag’s Head in 1927.




22810 133 x138 Deansgate - Copy 22820 135.5 pizzaland 22830 135.5 E XPP Market Street 22840 135.5 F Market Street May1965 - Copy 22850 135.6 Millwell Lane 1950 - Copy 22860 137 x45 Deansgate Oxford St - Copy 22870 137.1 Dec 49 - Copy 22880 137.5 slide 3995Aug 1998 - Copy 22890 136.5 Higher Nags Head - Copy

Williams Deacons seen from Market Street (South), built 1875. Origins in 1818 in Water Street, later Grapes Hotel, moved to Market Street as Hardcastle Cross and co . 1890 Williams Deacons and Manchester and Salford Bank, c1901 Williams Deacons. 1925 extended. 1970 Williams and Glyns. Then Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS is to be broken up after its part in the credit crunch and this branch will revert to Williams Glyns in 2016. This process has gone slowly and is unlikely to be completed in 2017.

1960s? Pizzaland on the corner of Market Street, opposite Royal Bank of Scotland.

Market Street from Deansgate to the Market Hall with Royal Bank of Scotland on the right.

22835 2016 05 23 204

23 May 2016 Market Street from Deansgate to the Market Hall with Royal Bank of Scotland on the right. The buildings on the right are unchanged. On the left the building on the bottom corner is essentially unchanged but the top half of the street is very different even if only superficially.

May 1965. A look up Market Street towards Deansgate and on to Hotel Street in the far distance. The sheets around RBS are probably for cleaning. Burton’s remains as we always remember it. Although the modern canopy has been added to the corner shop on the right the building has not been changed.


Millwell Lane from Corporation Street to Deansgate. An old map shows Millwell Lane continuing in a bendy fashion towards the River Croal. The well is marked in a position just this side of the middle of the Market Hall. At the far end of the lane across Deansgate is the Higher Nags Head.

<<<<   view October 2017 >>>>


< from Corporation Street to Deansgate


from Deansgate towards Corporation Street. You can walk along Deansgate and not even notice that Millwell Lane exists.>>


Weeks of waiting for a picture and there are still bins in the way!

December 1949

A very busy Deansgate at its junction with Oxford Street on the left and Knowsley Street on the right. And the same place a few seconds later. Can you see anyone on both pictures?

Same corner in 1998 – pedestrianised, much less busy.

The Higher Nags Head pictured a few years before it closed in 1929. Image from the Bolton Library And Museums Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.


The very grand building is on the corner of Market Street where Alliance and Leicester had a new building (taken over by Santander and now EE). The main part of the picture is the Higher Nag’s Head taking up most of that block between Market Street and Oxford Street. IT IS NOT CLEAR whether the building on the corner was part of the Higher Nag’s Head or whether it was something else.  It seems to have been built further back than the pub as if in anticipation its demolition and the widening of Deansgate.  At the extreme left we see across Market Street to Burton’s or whatever preceded it.


The following text is from the Lost Pubs of Bolton web-site.


The building was a private residence for some years before becoming a pub. It was built in 1735 as a townhouse for John Andrews (1684-1743). Andrews’ principle residence was Rivington Hall, which he bought from the Breres family in 1729 but he needed a residence in the centre of town.

Andrews was famous for having built the beacon on top of Rivington Pike in 1733.

Around 1820 the house became licensed premises. For a number of years people differentiated between the two pubs (this one and the Nag's Head, later Lower Nag's Head) by referring to the Higher Nags Head as Holden’s Vaults. That was after John B Holden and Co, a firm of wine and spirit merchants who owned the pub and used it to store their stock.

22852 20171026 Millwell Lane 54 22851 20171026 Millwell Lane 55 22900 137.8 Deansgate PL 22920 137.9 Deansgate - small 22910 138.21 M&S60Deansgate abut Knowsley Hsopen19 22930 138 x181 Deansgate - small 22940 138.10 Knowsley Street from Deansgate 22941 138.20 x181 Deansgate and Knowsley St - smal 22950 138 z c1930 Knowsley House Bolton past&prese 22960 138 y 24sep2009 - small 22970 138.12 fiftyshilling Next Page

Marks and Spencer's 60Deansgate opened 1915. The building to the left will be replaced by Knowsley House on the corner of Knowsley Street.

Deansgate looking east towards the Parish Church with Oxford Street on the right, The Paragon on the corner and Knowsley Street on the left, signposted to Blackburn. Next to the Paragon, Swan pens and ink are being sold. On the left Royal Bank of Scotland (or whatever it was called at this date) Britannia on the roof of Constantine Brothers (Woolworths) then buildings on Churchgate with the Market Cross and the Church tower. Date between 1913 and 1930ish when this corner was redeveloped, probably mid 20s but might be determined by when Thomas Cook moved to 9 Victoria Square. (Not there on a picture of a charabanc trip c1920.) Domed building on right makes this picture slightly later than the one to the left.

Looking back again towards RBS and the Parish Church. An atmospheric picture full of interest.

Electric trams, horse and cart, man enquiring of the policeman (or is it two bobbies having a confab?), The Upper Nag’s Head, closed in 1929 is still there and the 1930-32 building on the corner of Knowsley street has not commenced building. Burton’s is not yet there. Picture probably c1920.

These two pictures were taken very close together in time and the posters and notices suggest that this is the same occasion as the picture above.


Left: we look along Knowsley Street. The shop on the left corner (still standing, now MacDonalds) is Burgon’s grocers who had earlier had a shop on the corner of Deansgate and Spring Gardens (Howell Croft North).


Right: looking further to the right along Deansgate


Below: A collage of these two pictures.


Same corner c1929

Knowsley House, corner of Deansgate and Knowsley Street being built.

Knowsley House – fifty shilling tailor 1950s 60s?

Knowsley House – fifty shilling tailor 1950s 60s?

Knowsley House – fifty shilling tailor 1950s 60s?

Knowsley House – fifty shilling tailor 1950s 60s?

We will now take a look up Knowsley Street before continuing our progress along Deansgate.

24 September 2009